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Thursday, October 28, 2010, 05:00 am PT (08:00 am ET)

Apple's iPad now on sale from Verizon and AT&T

Apple on Thursday began selling the iPad through the two largest wireless carriers in the U.S. — Verizon and AT&T — as retail expansion of the touchscreen tablet before the holidays continues.

The Oct. 28 launch was announced earlier this month, and both companies will sell the product in their brick-and-mortar retail stores starting today. AT&T will sell all three iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models at their standard pricing, while Verizon will sell the iPad with Wi-Fi and a MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot router at the same price.

AT&T will offer data plans at $14.99 for 250MB per month, and $25 per month for 2GB of data with no term contract. Those plans also include unlimited access to AT&T's more than 23,000 domestic Wi-Fi Hot Spots. The iPads sell for $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB, and $829 for 64GB.

On Verizon, iPad customers will be able to buy 1GB of data for $20 per month, 3GB for $35, or a $50-per-month plan that gets 5GB of data. Unlike the iPad AT&T will sell, Verizon's iPad does not have built-in 3G and will require use of the MiFi mobile router for non-Wi-Fi Internet connections.

The iPad's availability at AT&T was expected, as the company has been the exclusive wireless carrier of the iPhone in the U.S. since Apple's handset launched in 2007. But the deal with Verizon came as a surprise, as the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. has been rumored to partner with Apple for the iPhone for years, but a deal has never come to be.

Verizon's sale of the iPad for the holiday season has helped to fuel rumors that the carrier will begin offering a CDMA version of the iPhone compatible with its network starting in early 2011.

Verizon


Apple had quickly expanded the retail presence of the iPad in time for the holidays. On Oct. 15, the device went on sale at Walmart, while Target and Amazon started their sales on Oct 3.. Best Buy expanded sales to all of their retail stores on Sept. 26.